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MIL OSI – Source: New Zealand Ombudsmans Office – Release/Statement

Headline: LGOIMA turns 30

The Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act (LGOIMA) commenced operation in New Zealand 30 years ago today.

Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier says from 1 March 1988, local authorities had to apply a guiding principle when considering requests for access to the official information they hold.

“This principle still applies today – that information shall be made available unless there is good reason as defined by the Act for withholding it.”

Mr Boshier says LGOIMA gives everyone the ability to request access to official information from local authorities.

“The Act provides an opportunity for people to participate. Timely access to official information gives ratepayers and residents more opportunity to understand and influence the actions and decisions made by local authorities. It also allows people to hold Mayors, Councillors and officials to account for the decisions they make.”

Mr Boshier says LGOIMA also makes sure the public has advanced notice and access to meetings of local authorities.

“Collectively local authorities manage more than $100 billion in fixed assets, which include important infrastructure. Ratepayers are increasingly interested in how these assets are managed,“ he says.

Our current practice guidelines on the LGOIMA can be viewed here.

Our latest guide released today on free and frank opinions is also relevant to local authorities. It can be found here.

If a requester is not satisfied with a local authority’s response to their request, they are able to ask the Ombudsman to investigate and review what occurred. Information about making a complaint about official information access under LGOIMA can be found here.